San Diego Criminal Attorney is one of the most prolific and top-rated law firms in San Diego. The firm has attorneys who are competent and well versed with California criminal law and can comfortably deal with any case related to corporal injury for their clients. Also, the attorneys have long outstanding records of high performance in criminal defense. These advocates can mount several defense arguments to help defend the criminal charges. They include self-defense, accidental actions, false accusation, misplaced identity, traumatic condition, and insufficient or invalid evidence. Arguing that the accused is innocent or that the alleged victim did it as an act of revenge are also among the common defenses for a corporal injury case.
California Legal Definition of Corporal Injury
The California law under Penal Code 273.5, defines corporal injury as an act of crime done by an individual, involving conflicts that are deliberately meant to cause bodily harm that may create a traumatic condition on a person in a close or intimate relationship. The alleged victim must be a child, spouse either present or former, girlfriend, boyfriend, cohabitant, fiancé, or even a parent to the respondent. In order for the violent act to be termed as corporal injury, the defendant must be having a close relationship with the victim.
Who Qualifies to Be an ‘Intimate Partner’ To a Defendant?
According to the Penal Code 273.5 of the California law, an intimate partner is described as:
Current or former spouse to the defendant- either wife or husband; a former or current cohabitant who is residing/leaving with the defendant; a former or current fiancé to the defendant; an individual with whom the accused have had a serious or a known dating relationship, father or mother to the defendant's child; or a child to the defendant.
For a case to qualify as corporal injury, the corporal injury statute states three conditions that must prevail. That the: defendant willingly caused a bodily injury on the victim, the victims is a former or current intimate partner, and that the injury caused resulted in a traumatic condition.
A person is said to have acted willfully if he or she did something intentionally but at the same time, did not want to break the law. For example, Nick and Jane who are couples were arguing. A point was reached when Nick’s emotion rose provoked him to strike Jane’s face which ended up severely bleeding internally. Nick did the act of slapping Jane intentionally- willfully, but he did not intend to cause such a severe injury to Jane. As such, the law will charge him of corporal injury.
What Is a Traumatic Condition Under the California Law?
The California law, Penal Code 275.3 provide a concise meaning of traumatic action as any wound or bodily injury caused by a directly applied physical force. The injury may not necessarily be a serious one, but there should be some evidence proving it. Some examples of injuries that California law identifies as traumatic condition include a broken jaw, a bruise, an internal or external bleeding, suffocation or strangulation, or a concussion.
If you acted in a way that caused any of the said injuries to your intimate partner, then you may be charged with corporal injury. However, before you are convicted of an injury which triggered traumatic condition, the California law under Penal Code 275.3 PC provides that, the court under its prosecuting attorney, should prove that the indicted person’s action is the factual basis of traumatic conditions the victim is suffering from. As such, a traumatic state is perceived to be a product of the injury if:
- The victim's traumatic condition was a natural and undoubtedly resulted from the injury by the defendant;
- The injury was an undeviating and considerable cause of the traumatic condition;
- The traumatic condition would not have occurred had it not been for the injury instigated by the defendant.
An Example of a Case Where One Is Not Guilty of Causing a Traumatic Condition:
George and Mary were a legally married couple. However, a dispute arose which yielded constant violence. One day, they argue over an issue which prompted George to push Mary severally. Disgusted, Mary marched away. Unfortunately, she was hit by vehicle breaking her bough and later filed a corporal injury case.
In this scenario, George is not guilty of corporal injury because the traumatic condition that Mary suffered (breaking the limb) was not the result of George’s push but rather, the accident she met as she walked away. George is therefore not the immediate cause of Mary’s traumatic condition.
Charges Related to Corporal Injury
In California, some charges which are relate to Penal Code 275.3 corporal injury and sometimes, one can be charged with them instead of the corporal injury.
As per Penal Code 243 (e) 1 of the California domestic battery, the law states that an intimate partner should not be harmful or touched in any offensive manner whatsoever. If in case you committed such an act, you are charged with having committed domestic battery which is punishable by the law. However, unlike corporal injury, domestic battery is a lesser offense and hence charged lightly. Besides, the victim must not have incurred a serious injury for you to be charged under the domestic battery. If convicted under this offense, the penalty may include a 1-year jail in the county court or a fine of up to 2000 dollars. In some cases, probation may be granted thus making the domestic battery a more lenient charge that can be imposed on an individual charged of corporal injury as a way of pardoning.
Disturbing the Peace
Penal Code 415 of the California law ‘disturbing the peace’ dictates that public fights, making unreasonable noises and the use of provocative language towards another individual, are always crime punishable by law. As a way of reducing the penalties one could face under Penal Code 273.5, prosecutors often opt for this charge. It usually attracts a 90-day jail term or a fine not exceeding 400 dollars.
It is a crime under Penal Code 368 of the California ‘elder abuse law’ to inflict pain willfully or negligently on an individual above 65 years. If you are found to have caused such disturbances to your intimate partner who is over 65 years, then you are liable for this crime. The law considers elder abuse as a wobbler case, and hence you can be charged under felony or misdemeanor elder abuse. If charged under a felony, 2 to 4 year of imprisonment and a fine of 6000 dollars may apply. Under misdemeanor elder abuse, you are likely to face up to 6 months jail or a fine amounting to 1000 dollars.
If the respondent is cohabiting with a minor(s), the California law under the child abuse Penal Code 273 (a) demands that one faces charges over child’s life endangerment.
Before convicted of whichever the charges above, the court under its prosecution, must first prove beyond any reasonable doubt that: the respondent harmed the intimate partner, disturbed the peace, and cohabits with the elderly or the minor respectively.
What are Punishments and Penalties for Corporal Injury?
In California, corporal injury is one of the wobbler cases implying that, depending on the degree and severity of the injury caused to the victim, the accused can be charged with either a felony or misdemeanor case depending on the judge’s discretion. The choice hinges on the facts behind the respondent’s claim and the criminal history of the accused. If convicted of misdemeanor corporal injury, the California court of law under Penal Code 243.5 after ascertaining that you willfully inflicted the injury, then may administer penalties which include a one year imprisonment in a county-based jail or a fine amounting to 6000 dollars and if accused of felony corporal injury to an intimate partner, the basic penalties include but not limited to 2 to 4 years jail in a national prison and or Fine of a tune of 6000 dollars.
However, for the accused to be charged over felony, the injuries suffered by the alleged victim must be serious and the respondent based on the available criminal records has ever committed a domestic violence or any other crime related to the corporal injury.
With a proper representation by our highly skilled attorneys in San Diego Criminal Attorney, you may be sentenced to California felony formal probation which is a bit lenient and friendly. However, if after thorough investigations, it is established that you have once had a history of the same case, for instance within the last seven years you have been convicted of:
- Corporal injury on a spouse
- Assaulting an individual while in possession of a gun
- Assaulting or battering with results of serious injuries,
- Assaulting with a deadly weapon
- Assaulting or battering in possession of dangerous chemical or have involved yourself in any related case, then you are charged differently.
If prior convicted of battery, corporal injury and other assaults, the Penal Code 275.3 increases felony charges to 2-5 years in jail at a state custody and a hiked fine of 10,000 dollars.
If prior convicted of battery to your spouse under Penal Code 243 (e), the law demands that the corporal injury felony charge is increased to 2-4 years and a fine of a tune of 10,000 dollars
What Happens If the Corporal Injury Involves Great Bodily Injury?
Circumstances exist when the corporal injury victim suffered a great bodily injury. In this case, the law takes a new course and incorporates Penal Code 12022.7 which calls for sentence enhancement. Under this Penal Code, the great bodily injury is described by the California law as significant and substantial physical injury and may include but not limited to shattered bones, puffed-up eye where bruises are visible for a long time, Gunshot wounds, bleeding knees, or severe discoloration.
If it is ascertained that the victim suffered such injuries as a result of your action, then the court of law imposes an additional 3, 4 or 5 years in a government prison.
Probation on Corporal Injury Cases
Sometimes, the prosecutors in the California court of law under the Penal Code 273.5, may suspend the imposition of the charges and give the defendant probation instead. However, the kind of probation to be administered depends on whether the case was a misdemeanor or a felony.
Usually, probation for misdemeanor case survives for 1-2 years while for a felony case, the probation lasts for between 3-5 years. Probation, however, is only offered if the perpetrator has certainly not had any account of corporal injury or any case deemed serious by the law.
Probation gives the defendants a chance to remain out of jail. Individuals accused of either a misdemeanor or felony charges have equal access to probation however, the accused are required to comply with some conditions laid down by the court of law. These conditions include but not limited to:
- Refraining from violation of any law;
- Paying a fine dictated by the court;
- Compensating the alleged victim of the expenses incurred while seeking medication for the injuries caused by the respondent;
- Attending to victim’s medical programs;
- Not coming into contact with alleged victim for a minimum of 10 years;
- Participating in compulsory community service which includes roadside work.
In addition to the above conditions, the law demands that the respondent stays behind bars for a period not less than 15 days in case of a prior conviction in the past seven years for a crime related to corporal injury, assault or an equivalent. In the case of two or more scenarios of the same kind having been committed by the accused, he or she should stay in jail for 60 days.
Defendants sometimes fail to comply with set probation condition. In the event of such, probation violation hearing is scheduled by the judge advocate, and if ascertain violation happened, the court may impose new and harsher conditions, discontinue the probation term and/or Jail the defendant with the utmost degree of punishment
Are There Any Immigration Consequences of a Corporal Injury Conviction?
In the state of California, corporal injury is a serious crime which is seen under federal immigration as a crime of domestic violence and as such possess severe consequences to the respondent on emigration. For instance, after leaving the country, the respondent has no right to re-enter the country, no possibility to become a citizen of California or any state in the U.S., and no right to apply or be in possession of the immigration card termed as a green card.
Legal Defenses to Corporal Injury under Penal Code 273.5
If charged with corporal injury or related offense, a defense attorney will devise strategies to help drop the case, reduce the charges, or seek bail. These arguments depends on the type of proof levelled against the defendant by the prosecutor. In most cases, these strategies yield favorable results to the accused as attorneys implant reasonable doubts to the jury, on the charges presented.
Self-defense: In this view, an attorney may argue that the cause of the action was the defendant need to protect or defend himself or herself from the wrath of the accused victim. That the suspect reasonably believed that his or another person’s life was in danger as a result of actions caused by or presence of the victim and as such acted to prevent the danger from occurring by using force. The force was however not more than to defend against danger. Under this circumstance, you may not be convicted guilty of corporal injury.
False accusation: It is rampant in California that some people are falsely accused of something they never did. As such, an attorney may defend the accused by claiming that the alleged corporal injury suspect was falsely accused not meeting the thresholds of being judged.
That it was an accident: An attorney may also defend the alleged respondent on the grounds that he or she did not willfully injure the alleged victim and that it was just but an accident. On such instances, there are no legal grounds for conviction.
Lack of enough evidence: On these grounds, the attorneys can defend the accused perpetrator by claiming that the information presented is invalid or insufficient. As such the court may compel the prosecution to suspend or dissolve the case on the grounds of limited evidence pointing to the accused as a culprit.
Having a corporal injury charge in California can be a scary situation and it is always critical to have a strong defense. It is prudent to find a competent advocate to help defend the charges. At San Diego Criminal Attorney, we have highly skilled attorneys who are equipped with tactics of arguing any case related to corporal injury and as such, capable of successfully defending the accused. We are a firm with an established positive reputation and recognized for putting our clients’ demands first. Pressed with any corporal injury case? Speak to your San Diego criminal defense attorney at 619-880-5474.